Uni denies police pressure to revoke academic's contract

Uni denies police pressure to revoke academic's contract

Khon Kaen University on Saturday denied being pressured by the police to terminate the employment contract of American academic David Streckfuss over his political activism, saying the agreement was scrapped for professional reasons.

"No police or any other state officials met and pressured the university or dean of the faculty to terminate the contract of Mr Streckfuss, as reported by the media," said the president of Khon Kaen University, Assoc Prof Charnchai Pangthongviriyakul.

He said the decision was taken as Mr Streckfuss was unable to secure international students for the university's exchange programme.

Assoc Prof Charnchai said Mr Streckfuss was not on the staff of the university, but an unpaid representative for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a US-based non-profit organisation.

Despite the claim, Mr Streckfuss told the Bangkok Post in a phone interview that he has been working with the university on student exchanges since 1994, and the university had always renewed his employment contract in August each year.

He admitted that CIEE hasn't sent any student on exchange since June last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the termination of the exchange programme by the organisation itself.

Mr Streckfuss said he was told by university staff in February that four police came to meet the university's executives after he organised a youth forum to discuss social issues.

He said he does not intend to leave Thailand.

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